waterfruit tree, sometimes also known in the area of the Oka'Seri of the
Ráhaz-Dáth as the Tanglebough because of
the dense structure, is a tropical tree of medium height, native to
Nybelmar and various tropical regions of
Caelereth. It flourishes in wet places in
the shadow of higher trees, and has there established a mutually beneficial
relationship with various shimmerwing species. In
Styrásh the tree is also referred
to as "Béjon'már", lit. "Waterblossom".
Waterfruit trees are densely growing trees, more often than not growing multiple
trunks out of one communal base. The bark is rough, and of a dark
However, quite often the bark is covered by many patches of moss and algae,
giving it a much more 'foresty' look with blotches and stripes in various greens
and browns. The leaves are of a
herne hue, giving the overall impression of a rather dark tree. Waterfruit
Trees are moderately small trees, which grow to a
maximum of eight to ten peds
typically at fresh water banks, and seven
to eight when growing in or near salt water.
The tree's structure is
rather dense, as it grows many branches and twigs, which in turn tend to twist
and turn, making it hard for anything larger than a
cat to enter. This, combined with
the large amount of broad, egg-shaped leaves makes it a favoured
tree for many smaller animals to hide and raise their young. The leaves are
approximately seven to eight
nailsbreaths long, and only slightly less wide.
The roots are usually a tangled mess of boughs, more often than not even
elevating the entire tree slightly, so that one may look underneath the tree.
This provides many excellent nesting places for small animals and birds, and it
is not at all uncommon to see many birds carrying food into these burrows and
crevices during the reproduction season.
The Waterfruit Tree, as mentioned above, has a rather
large territory, including the tropical regions of
as well as more temperate climates. This tree occupies all of the
area, the south of Sarvonia,
Denilou, and certain parts of Aeruillin. In
these places it occupies all kinds of wet spots, such as lakesides, marches,
riverbanks, and of course, the seaside, as long as there are
shimmerwings to be found in the area to provide pollination, and some
form of cover against the sun. Although
Waterfruit Trees appear to prefer fresh
water conditions over salty ones, it seems
to be able to flourish under saline conditions rather well, although it will
grow slower, and more often than not, not reach its full height.
In the Drifting Woods, Waterfruit Trees are usually
found in those areas just off the channel banks, where the
sun penetrates the vaporous atmosphere,
while the other trees, mostly Tangleroot and Starmark Trees,
will prevent direct sunlight from
reaching the trees, which would eventually cause the flowers to wither and die.
It may also be found in a Nybelmarian
giant marsh-oak, which often
sports other small trees in crevices between its trunk and branches.
On the Sarvonian continent it is only found
in the very south, mainly the Oka‘Seri Swamps
the Scattersands Shoals.
Although various other locations are known, these rarely consist out of more
than a dozen trees, often cultivated by the local population.
On Aeruillin, Waterfruit Trees are usually a bit
smaller than in other places, as the trees providing cover are not always as
effective as on other continents. This is due to the proximity of the sun,
for in these southern lands, even a few minutes of direct
kill the flowers.
As is to be expected, Waterfruit Trees provide
water. More precisely, the flowers, (not
the fruit, as its name falsely implies) contain fresh
by the plant, which can be easily accessed by cutting a small slit in the
gel-like outer layer, and squeezing softly. For this reason, the lower flowers
on a tree are often emptied, and as such rarely develop into the actual fruit.
Also, the inhabitants of the Phéd'lón, (also known as the Drifting Woods) on
Nybelmar cultivate stands of these trees
near each settlement, either in the surrounding forest, or in the center of the
inhabited island. There they serve as a sure supply of drinkable
water in an
environment where water
not tainted by the salt of the sea is hard to come by.
Animals of all sorts rely on the Waterfruit Tree for a
large portion of their water
supply. Although many of them have adapted to their
environment to allow them to go without drinking for an extended period,
creatures rely on it for water, such as
monkeys, various insects, and occasionally even the
elusive and dangerous lingra,
who will chew on the fruit to open it, swallow the
discard the shell as it will eat only flesh. The monkeys are known to use small
‘tools’ to open the way to their drink, such as pointy twigs, or sharp shell
The wood of these trees is soft and easily shaped by a skilled woodworker, yet
durable, even when used outdoors. Its nervature is dark, which contrasts
beautifully with the light wood, making objects carved from Waterfruit
wood a desired product.
The most curious aspect of this tree is without any doubt its way of
reproduction. Depending very much on shimmerwings for pollination, it has
established a close relation with these insects from which both seem to draw
profit. The water-filled flowers of the
tree are mostly empty, but for an onion-shaped bulb on
the place where the soft exterior sprouts from the stem. This bulb is hollow,
and contains a short, stub-like pistil on the upper side, at the base. At its
tip is a small opening, less than half of a
nailsbreath wide. The
stamen, then, are barely recognizable. Shaped like thin ridges, they are nothing
more than a pollen-producing line on the outer sphere's insides, tinted slightly
more greenish when the pollen are ready to be released.
Fertilization is done by allowing the pollen to detach from the stamen, drift
through the water, and enter the bulb
protecting the pistil. However, to release the pollen into the contents of the
flower, a fairly strong motion is needed, such as an animal bumping into it
while passing through the tree, or the shaking by a strong
wind. This is where the shimmerwings come
to play their part in the reproduction process.
As the insects lay their eggs inside the flower, the larvae hatch in a safe
chamber, filled with sweet water, and all
the food they will need, for to the larvae, the pollen are edible. As the tiny
beasts move along the stamen ridges, they do not only eat the pollen, they also
scrape a fairly large portion off the stamen, and into the open flower. In this
way, the larvae greatly increase the amount of free-floating pollen compared to
that of a flower without larvae, even though a portion of the pollen produced
will be eaten. Although the Waterfruits are available year-round, they seldom
get pollinated during the times shimmerwing larvae are not present.
After pollination, the flower will slowly start to shrink as
water is drawn back into the plant, until
finally all that remains is a hard nut, encased together with the pupae of the
shimmerwings in a tough, crispy film. This nut, which is easily broken by a
strong hand, is filled with a rust-coloured mushy paste of a very bitter taste,
and several dozens of small bead-like seeds that look like made from the finest
The city of Tyr Goukaine on Denilou is
famous for the so-called "Watchfull",
a series of six exquisitely carved three-ped-tall
positioned on the main watchtowers of the outer wall. It is said these have been
carved from the trees that were removed as the city was built, and that while
the other trees were used as construction wood, a wandering
elf, known now only
as "The Carver" convinced
the Lord of Tyr Goukaine to give him the Béjon’már
wood. The elf
then set to work in an enclosed area, and when after
many days there were no more sounds of woodcarving to be heard from within the
enclosure, the curious workers entered, and found that the
had disappeared, and only the Watchfull remained.
Another interesting fact is that this tree is mentioned in a few ancient scrolls
and texts, albeit vaguely, and with an obscure
name that roughly translates to "Large object, alive
"Tree that Bears Water-Spheres (Life-Spheres?)".
This leads to the conclusion that the Waterfruit Tree
was already widely spread before the
War of the Chosen, which would explain for its scattered territory.